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Project Pheonix - First ever bike project

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Hey there guys, so this started out as me thinking "Yeah I should be able to do this, I have a Haynes manual, some tools, and shouldn't take me too long".

Oh how wrong I was. Let's start with some basic info on me, I'm former British forces (engineering sector of it) and I used to take stuff apart, rebuild and maintain the equipment. Loved the job itself as I was always interested in doing stuff like that, whether it's a computer, car or motorbike and never really had the opportunity.

The bike itself is a GS500E R (94) which was my grandfather's, and I was always told that when I do my test the bike would be handed down to me and when I eventually did it (curently 32 and did my test about 2 years ago) he passed it on.

When I started I gave myself a 5 month time frame as a number of people who have worked on their own vehicles mentioned how easy bikes would be compared to cars. This has been thrown completely out, as mentioned I have been working on this for over 2 years now (began in March 2019), it has been a number of things that have pushed the project back (pandemic, age of the bike and parts not being readily available, other personal issues) chief among those issues was the sheer scale of what I was doing.

The plan in a nutshell - strip the ENTIRE bike down, get the frame powder coated for rust removal and a decent paint job, then rebuild and improve on some things.

So I began with the strip down, finding seized bolts, lots of rust and to my joyous surprise; the crankcase/engine mounting bracket had broken off.

To the end of the strip down process it was moved from the front of the house, to inside the house (winter months) before finally being put inside a family members garage, where it currently resides during the rebuild.

With the strip down finally completed, I sent it away to get powder coated, then the lock-downs started and the rebuild was put on a hiatus. Months went past before eventually getting the powder coat completed, but I am happy with the results, if not with the price tag that accompanied it.

Rebuilding the bike could commence, which was a minor pain in the backside as I learnt my lesson with powder coating (never had it done before) and that parts would be a bit of a tighter fit than they originally were, as well as having to re-tap all threaded holes. These lessons will be valuable as I do plan on potentially doing another project bike in the future (even with the cost and minor stress it has been, it's an absolute joy being in the garage and working on the bike).

Without going into even greater detail and listing every single minute I spent, here is the list of changes done;

* New bearings (on eveything).
* Rear shock changed out for a YSS shock.
* Both sprockets changed.
* Brake calipers stripped, cleaned, new brake pistons, seals, pads and brake lines.
* New forks, fork springs, seals and oil
* New clutch, throttle, speedo and tacho cables.
* New spark plugs
* Changed the headlight brackets for chrome universal ones.
That's everything so far, as mentioned I am still rebuilding this as - due to the age - parts are a little hard to come by. Sadly I don't have an up to date picture at the moment, however here it how it looks from a month ago when my dad and a friend helped me get the engine back in.

For those interested in keeping up to date I do have an Instagram account and do put some pictures up on there, as well as a Twitch channel where I sometimes do garage chats, where I talk a load of crap as well as work on the bike. This thread will be updated as I go along and work on it, the plan is to hopefully get this bike finished for the summer and get riding on it as my first big bike (Used to have a CB125F back during my CBT days).

Will ask some questions on this thread as well guys when I need help, stops me from creating threads every time I have a question.

So guys, a minor update for you along with a picture, not much of a difference compared to the last picture I put on the original post but some progress at least.

Main updates really are the clocks being on, headlight put on loose so I can sort out the last bit of electrics and the clutch cable fitted.

Now I need some help off you fine people, looking at what I have left and some parts diagrams I am not sure on some parts associated with the choke lever. Here's the picture for reference;

So I am missing parts 6,7, 8 and 9. When I look at my old choke cable it has an end to it much like item 6, rather than the ball end that fits into the choke lever, any ideas whether this is just a variant end of the choke cable, or do I need these items added onto my choke cable.

Another minor issue I am having is underneath the left controls there appears to be a few gaps for some stuff and I'm not sure what goes into them, any help would be greatly appreciated as well as maybe some photos if it's not too much of a drama.

Hopefully get some feedback off you guys soon as I can then get the parts sharpish and, with a bit of luck, will be on the road by August, right in time for summer  :D

6 7 8 aren't those into the clutch switch?  Pretty sure mine was broke, then I replaced it and as soon as I pulled the clutch it broke again.  Farg that.  I just bypassed it to not have to worry about it.
I dunno how i missed this thread but thanks for sharing.  Followed you on ig and hope to see more!  Good work!

Hey there guys and gals, just a minor update for the bike, no pictures this time just because I am going up later and will get some updated ones for you all.

So then, last time I asked about the parts on the left hand controls, many thanks to cbrfxr67 for that, if they're that easy to break then I am going to leave fitting them until after the MOT and turns out it's just a hold for using the choke cable on cold starts, so not vital. The left hand controls are now all on the bike with the CORRECT grip, ordered a replacement handlebar and got a new grip to match both sides, sadly the one that came was from a different model.

The left - as your riding the bike - fork was leaking before hand, which has sadly led me to get a new fork cylinder and get it replaced, that's been done now and with me heading back to the garage shortly it should have sorted the issue out. Worst case scenario I go up there and find out there's still a leak, which would mean there's a problem with the stanchion itself and I swear to whatever power is out there, I find out there's an issue with that I may start throwing hammers around  >:(

Battery next, so I got a Motobatt battery which sounded good, the whole "maintenance free, install and go" phrases it had was a decent draw for me, you can imagine then my disappointment when I installed it and found it didn't work. Looking into it, turns out it needs an initial charge, great when I'm running low on funds and getting close to my credit card limit  >:( so after getting a charger, plugging it in for an hour or two, I installed it and we had power. No ignition clicking though, which is a bit of a pain as I was hoping it would attempt to start (carbs and tank are still removed due to carb service/setup being done by garage when I am finished) but sadly nothing. Read the Haynes manual and it's led me to the starter relay or even the starter motor, hopefully I will find out later.

Latest addition which was a surprise delivery, the exhaust system arrived and it's now fitted, lovely looking stainless steel exhaust, I think the only disappointment I had with it is the "clamps" for the down-pipes, they're just blocks of stainless steel which press the pipes into the gaskets which do what they need to but not as nice/fancy looking as the originals. The picture updates later will show you what I mean, but it's a minor disappointment which I will have to live with.

Hopefully by end of this month/first week of next month (with great appreciation to the misses right now) it should be with the garage, getting the carbs done and then the MOT.

So guys, here are the pictures I mentioned about, first up is the updated look of the bike.

Nice new stainless steel exhaust fitted, but like I said a little disappointed in the clamps for the downpipes. New ones look like this;

Whereas the old ones look like this;

Like I said before, it's only a small thing and doesn't harm/change anything on the running of the bike but would have been nice if they were similar. So the bike is pretty much ready for pickup from the garage in order to get the carbs and MOT done, so should be on the road soon, although there is an electrical issue which they are going to investigate/repair for me, only thing stopping it now, the fuel tank.  >:(

So the misses came up yesterday and helped out after I posted the previous reply, just needed a little help with the centre stand springs as they're new and were a bit of a Buddha Loves You getting on. Had some shoddy fuel given to me by a family member that was being used in order to swill around the petrol tank, get rid of any moisture and crud that may be hanging around inside the tank, as soon as I did it and laid it down for a moment I found multiple leaks along the fuel tank where the rust has eaten through it.

Joyful  >:(

Luckily, I have found a couple of tanks on the facebook marketplace, so hopefully that issue will be rectified which, kinda need it done before the bike gets picked up, otherwise no MOT.


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